Mazatlan, Zihuatanejo, or Puerto Vallarta?

Hello, I'm new here. We're thinking of moving to Mexico in a few years for our retirement. After considering Yucatan I have changed my mind and chose the west coast (slightly less hot and close to California). All these towns in my subject are ones I am considering.

We are going to visit next spring to confirm if we like them. I see Mazatlan and Puerto vallarta are 6.5 hours away driving so I'm thinking about maybe seeing both. How easy/safe is it to drive in Mexico on that road portion especially?

I would like some cultural life (theatre, art shows, etc) is that available in Zihuatanejo or is it really just a beach town?

expatimmigre :

Hello, I'm new here. We're thinking of moving to Mexico in a few years for our retirement. After considering Yucatan I have changed my mind and chose the west coast (slightly less hot and close to California). All these towns in my subject are ones I am considering.

We are going to visit next spring to confirm if we like them. I see Mazatlan and Puerto vallarta are 6.5 hours away driving so I'm thinking about maybe seeing both. How easy/safe is it to drive in Mexico on that road portion especially?

I would like some cultural life (theatre, art shows, etc) is that available in Zihuatanejo or is it really just a beach town?

I have been to two of the cities you mention. I would visit P.V. again perhaps, but not live there. It has been basically isolated a couple of times that I am aware of. Once I had to route around it because storms, heavy rain, and unstable roads made it impassable. When I did visit I enjoyed the visit and the town but couldn't fail to notice how quickly immobile the roads became if there was a problem like an accident. The main road coming in is a two-lane ( more one and a half lane) road that is the main access. I tend to have a "what if" mentality so given climate change I began to look at what would happen if, and I didn't like what I imagined. A serious storm would mean no planes, and from what I saw no roads.

Mazatlan is a cute but densely populated town that I visited several times but didn't consider living in. You might like it.

Zihuatanejo is way too close to Acapulco for me. For years Acapulco has been the main go to the beach resort for the cartel. Yes, they can visit anywhere but Juarez and Acapulco are pretty much hometown.

Your goal is to be closer to the U.S. ? perhaps you need to visit cities around T.J. or beach places closer to Cabo. There are expats who can tell you about beach towns they live in or close to.

Any older medium size town has a strong cultural life. Especially the really old places.

The driving in Mexico on the toll highways is pretty good. They repair them often, and they provide road service for a breakdown. Once you are off of the toll roads it's a crapshoot. Could be ok, or not Definitely baches (potholes) and topes ( speed bumps). Add 1-2 hours to your drive time and do not drive after it starts to get dark. So going to Mazatlan then to P.V. would not be a good idea.

Hi "exatimmigre", we live fulltime on the Riviera Nayarit coast so

If your are looking at being fulltime resident in Mexico and want culture and close by ocean then in the 3 choices PV would be the best but that being said PV is not a laid back town compare to others. In the area, you could look also at Punta de Mita, Bucerias or Valle de Banderas off hwy 200.

In PV area, we consider that there is lots of traffic, more and more asphalt, more and more complexes (condos, hotels, apartment), more commercial but it's a matter of test.

A new tool road is under construction between Jala and the 4 lane hwy at Bucerias, also the old hwy 200 is being widened between Punta de Mita junction and Las Varas.

For actual travel between USA and PV, lots of snowbirds do it every year my last travel was in 2013 so not actually current but flying is our way to go now

Mazatlan, no current info since my last visit was in 2011

Zihuatanejo, I have a friend that just move away from it because of the increase crime rate and it's more a beach resort town.

If you don't need beach proximity then many options are available in the mountains.

Adios y buen dia a todos, GyC.

Thanks, I'm now considering flying to the differents parts I want to explore instead of driving

Hey, I'm not considering the mountains at all, so I will take a look at Punta de Mita and Valle de Banderas. As long as it's less than 1/2 hours. I'm also considering Chetumal now

I have been to all 3 places. Of the 3 Mazatlan is My favorite, Nice theater/opera house, excellent colonial crafts, nice restaurant in Centro Plaza,  etc... a bit crowded, but most good places are. Have you looked at Huatulco. For Me it was the absolute best place. But not as artistic as Mazatlan, but also not as crowded. More on the quiet side with all the amenities.

Huatulco looks really nice but it's quite more expensive than Mazatlan in terms of realty. Eventually, I am looking to buy a fixer upper 1/2 hour from the beach or less and it looks like I might find it in Mazatlan. We have some savings to buy a cheap house and will hope to live only on 2500$ a month (with no rent but some work/spending on the house). So far it looks feasible in Mazatlan or Chetumal only. All the other cities close to the beach with a medium population/some culture/good hospitals are already quite expensive it seems. And I am not interested in living close to the border with the US. THanks all for your answers.

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